If you’re a parent, you may have one kid or more than one. Perhaps you had several around the same time, so they’re similar ages. If so, they can run you ragged. You might expend some serious energy chasing after them all the time.
If you have a spouse or partner, you may need some time away. At least once per week, you can hire a babysitter who can come over and watch the kids while you spend a romantic evening at your favorite restaurant.
You probably realize the importance of communication between parents and babysitters. You must know how much this person charges per hour or for the night, but you also should decide whether you can trust them.
Let’s talk about what goes into that decision right now.
Hiring an Independent Babysitter
Babysitting agencies exist in 2023. You can find one online, or some have apps you can download to your phone or tablet.
You may also contact an independent babysitter. If you do, you might find them because a relative, friend, or neighbor recommended them. You may also have someone at work mention them and give you their phone number.
Can You Trust Independent Babysitters?
If you find a babysitter through someone you know, you can ask that person whether they trust this individual. If a work colleague knows this particular babysitter, for instance, you can ask them about the sitter’s background before you contact them.
If your work colleague says they’ve known this sitter for many years and they’re great with kids, that should help you feel more at ease. You might contact the sitter and have them meet you and your kids. You can watch them interacting together.
If you feel, based on that interaction and what your coworker says, that you can trust this sitter, you might move forward and set up a trial babysitting gig for a couple of hours while you and your spouse go catch a movie. You can see how things go. You can also tell your kids they have your cell phone number, and they can call you if they’re old enough and anything goes wrong.
You can also look this sitter up online before you have them babysit your kids. You should find some additional information about them that’s public record. If you find anything you don’t like, you can go with someone else.
What About the Sitter’s Age?
You might also have a neighbor or friend recommend a babysitter, but you’re unsure about moving forward because you feel the sitter’s too young. Some parents have teens babysit their kids. They might babysit when they’re only fifteen or sixteen.
Some teens project maturity, but you may feel you want someone a little older and more experienced. If you feel like a sixteen-year-old doesn’t have the life experience you want from someone watching your kids for hours by themselves, then you might go with someone older and more worldly instead.
Hiring a Sitter Through an App or Website
You can also find a sitter through an app or website. More and more parents do this in 2023. Like just about anything else, there’s an app for that.
If you do this, you’ll know the babysitting service vets their sitters very carefully. That’s a huge plus when going this route. You can learn all about this sitter via the app.
You might find one that does a little light housework while watching your kids. They might cook them dinner or lunch as well. They may help them with homework rather than just playing video games or watching movies with them.
You may learn through the app that this sitter knows CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver. You might like that. You know this sitter has skills that might come in handy in an emergency.
You may also see that they’ve babysat kids over a ten- or twenty-year period. With that much experience, they have probably seen it all.
How Else Can You Research a Particular Sitter?
With babysitters you find through an app or website, you can still do some online research. You can find out about this person by Googling them or using a free person lookup tool.
You would assume the app vetted this sitter before hiring them, but still, you might do your own investigation. You don’t want your kids spending time with an inappropriate individual, and a search should reveal anything troubling in their background.
You can ask them any questions you have when you meet in person. You might find them charming and trustworthy. If anything feels off, or they seem evasive about certain details, you can always go with someone else.
You should trust your sitter, but you must afford them as well. If you learn that a sitter charges too much, maybe you’ll find someone cheaper.
Generally, sitters on apps charge a little more. That’s because the app or website gets some money as well. They bring sitters and parents together, and they charge a commission for that service.
That means you’ll usually pay more when you utilize an app or website, but you know the service vetted the sitter in exchange. If you have very little money, you might go with an independent sitter for that reason alone.
If you hire a sitter, whether through an app or a friend’s recommendation, you can see how it goes that first time. When you return and send the sitter home, you can question your kids. You can ask them how the day or evening went.
If your kids say they had fun and they like the sitter, you can use them again. If your kids say anything that doesn’t sound right, you can go with someone else next time.
Trust your judgment, and listen when your kids describe their experience. That’s how you can learn whether a particular sitter deserves your trust and whether you should hire them for additional days or evenings